Standard mitigation tools are a great place to start with Capacity Management, just like any failure mitigation need.
As a telecommunications and IT consultant, we’re often called upon to solve problems. I remember some of my early training that suggested a good place to start is with generative questions, and exploration of the problem with framing questions and through levels of logic to find the opportunity to dovetail their needs with your skills. But so often, you never get that chance?
Instead, I find a good place to start with many problems is with case studies. Everyone involved in the problem has been a part of the pain, and they can usually provide a case study or two.
It doesn’t matter the context, as a failure of something has usually lead someone to call on you. In business, we are all problem solvers. General failure mitigation tools, including FMECA, FMEA, quality tools like fishbone Diagrams, all come in handy to describe the failure, and lead you to a mitigation.
Capacity Management is no different. Consider the categories of capacity management failure.
- Not enough capacity leads to shortage, and therefore symptoms like long order cycle times, poor network performance, service failures, high operations costs, and related symptoms.
- Too much capacity leads to wasted resources, high capital costs, and other related symptoms.
- Surprises in demand can lead to the symptoms of insufficient capacity at times, yet be a temptation leading to too much capacity being deployed.
- And there are other potential causes including poor information, no data, lack of ownership, etc.; see any basic FMECA or fishbone diagram for guidance.
Note that all of these conditions can exist in the same business, on the same network, and on the same consumable resource.
Just like a solid software development project starts with use cases, a solid systems engineering project has design reviews, and reliability and quality engineering projects seek to understand the ways a system fails and how to improve on that system, Capacity Management is no different. Start with the cases studies that lead an organization to seek a better solution to managing the capacity of its consumable resources, be that network capacity, operations staff, cloud storage, or service and application performance.